Golden Girl is Back to the US

It’s been a few weeks since I returned to LA. In true Pinoy fashion, my entire clan picked me up at the airport and we went out for some Vietnamese food. My husband J.T. could not contain his happiness and I would like to think it was because he missed me, or that he was particularly excited about the spicy Pho at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I failed to mention to him that my heart (and tummy) has already fallen in love with Iloilo’s La Paz batchoy!

Being reunited with my family and grandchildren helped me get over my jet lag quickly. With pride, I passed around my phone and showed them pictures of my adventures in the Philippines.  I took 3,000 photos! Can you believe that?

When my grandchildren saw photos of the jeepneys in Manila, they immediately begged me to find one so they can try riding in it. A functioning jeepney in the U.S.? Hmm.

All in all, I can’t seem to run out of stories to tell them regarding my Manila, Tagaytay, Cebu, Boracay and Iloilo trips. I have such fond memories of the people I’ve met, the long-lost friends and hometown relatives I’ve finally caught up with, the food I’ve savored, the beautiful scenery that captivated me, the cultures of the cities I’ve experienced, and the warmth and welcoming embrace that the Philippines have given me.

Eastwood City was a wonderful surprise – shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment all rolled into a self-sustaining “city”. It even has its own Walk of Fame!

And how can I forget Davao’s majestic monkey-eating eagle? Or the tasty, though notoriously foul-smelling, durian?

I will definitely miss the one-of-a-kind Cebu lechon. Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl. How truly memorable it was to stroll leisurely in Megaworld’s Mactan Newtown to enjoy the best of Cebu and all its modern conveniences.

In Iloilo, I still remember my stay at Richmonde Iloilo and how the staff made me feel well attended and right at home. La Paz batchoy anyone?  It’s simply the best.

I have postcard-perfect photos of Boracay’s famous sunset. I will miss the fresh seafood, the powder white sand, and my ATV adventure!

A quick trip from Manila is the cool and modern city of Tagaytay. Seeing Taal Lake was breathtaking. The cool climate was balanced out by the tasty and heavenly bulalo. Oh, I would love to be able to own a vacation home in Twin Lakes in Tagaytay and have access to a vineyard.

And Manila’s hippest place, Burgos Circle, made me feel young and “cool” (is it still cool to say cool?).  I exercised and jogged within Fort Bonifacio which has been developed into a place worthy of international standards.

I am indebted to my many friends, family, and new acquaintances for making my stay in the Philippines an experience that I will cherish forever. I have indeed crossed-out a major item from my bucket list but I know that this is not the last of my trip back home.

Mabuhay! Jennifer has Landed!

Sa wakas, nakarating din sa lupang sinilangan! Thank you flag carrier for the safe trip back home.  I made sure to have a window seat and I was blessed with my early morning view of Manila.  They say Manila sunsets are beautiful but the sunrise is equally gorgeous. Oh it feels so good to be back home! So sorry to my seatmate in the airplane whose sleep I disturbed because I couldn’t keep myself quiet as my adventure finally begins!

I felt like a wide-eyed, giddy little girl when I stepped out of the terminal. It is such a relief that there’s a free shuttle ride to The Belmont Hotel courtesy of Resorts World Manila. Travel Tipid Tip 101 (thrift tip): Utilize the free shuttle services c/o the hotels, airports. It will save you a fortune. LOL.

So during the shuttle ride to The Belmont Hotel, I couldn’t help myself but smile from ear to ear. The first thing that struck me during the ride was how many buildings there were! There were several buses each fighting for passengers and this caused a traffic jam (hello, Manila traffic!).  And yes, the jeepneys! I have to ride one soon and be able to say “para po”.

Finally, we reached the hotel.  After checking-in, I made sure to call some family and friends to tell them I arrived safely. And then the excitement and the jet lag got the better of me and I fell asleep.  A few hours later, I was ready and back to my fighting, adventurer form!

Continue reading “Mabuhay! Jennifer has Landed!”